At the end of his twenty-second year, Ichimura Tatsunosuke was back to square one.
theme #07: superstar
At the end of his twenty-second year, Ichimura Tatsunosuke was back to square one. He was back to being mechanical and single-minded. He was back to thinking that the Son of God whose second coming the Portugese missionaries heralded on the dirt streets, or his ancestors, or the /shichi fukujin/, or simply someone more powerful than himself, hated him. He was back to losing people and feeling worthless, and helpless, and stupid.
He didn't hear a word about it until the sounds of death and illness and pain were gone and he was outside. And, in retrospect, he supposed that the death and pain, at least, never really left his ears. They just sounded different away from holy ground.
"I heard they found his body at Teradaya this morning - they finally got him - assassinatedstabbedthroughtheforeheadbloodeverywhere."
And if there was one person who he had thought could look out for themselves, who was absolutely capable and self-sufficient, more than Okita or Hijikata or Yamazaki, it was Sakamoto Ryouma. If there was one person he could honestly say that he had never felt the need to protect from anything, it was Ryouma. As he stopped dead in his tracks, turned around, and made his way back to the temple, it looked like he was back to being wrong, wrong, wrong. And all the way back, he was reminded of it, over and over and over, because he had forgotten that Ryouma was infamous, that everyone knew about the man who was building a fleet of ships so that, one day, Japan would be able to go to war and be just as capable and stong as he was. He had forgotten that he wasn't just some silly man the Shinsengumi were chasing after for no good reason. He wasn't just some man that reminded him a little bit too much of his father and who he had, quite against his own will, fallen in love with. He wasn't just some man who he had kissed and kissed and kissed when he shouldn't have been anywhere near him. He had forgotten that he was not a man at all. He was a Legend. He was a Revolutionary. He was a Criminal. He was a Saint.
When Ichimura Tatsunosuke got back to his room, he picked up Ryouma's glasses from the spot where he had left them two days before - before he had gone and died right under his nose - and wondered if the nail that stuck up still got hammered down when you saw the world through colored lenses.
shichi fukujin - the seven gods of happiness
"the nail that sticks up gets hammered down" - Japanese proverb; people who are different are the first to be cut down to size
"to see through colored glasses" - Japanese proverb; to look at things from a biased point of view